When Nissan first unveiled the Nissan Rogue Sport in the U.S. market, the repatriated and lightly tweaked CUV was supposed to give buyers a smaller option that would be much more compact than the Rogue, while also being a good companion for urban driving. The lone flaw was that the Rogue Sport looked a bit too much like its bigger brother the Rogue. Nissan has addressed this minor blemish, and unveiled the 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport alongside the Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek edition.
Wheras the old model looked like a Rogue that went through the dryer one too many times, the 2020 version brings some welcome visual tweaks to allow it to stand out against its bigger sibling better. A revised front fascia is arguably the biggest difference you will notice is the reworked front fascia which features a new design for the headlights. This seemingly minor tweak allows the tiny CUV to have more of a distinctive identity, and that should help it resonate better with younger buyers. The rear also features new taillights, and again uniqueness and distinction were the goals for the rear fascia, and while we ponder how it looks when paired with select hues, we think that the changes shine best in either a dark hue, or a more vibrant hue like the red example that Nissan had present at there booth. Overall, we like the enhanced cohesion and design unity on display here, especially since it allows the Rogue Sport to largely be identical with its international counterpart the Qashqai.
In addition to its new duds, the 2020 Rogue Sport also adopts Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 technology package. This suite of active and passive safety features includes items such as front and rear automatic braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, and automatic high beam headlights. Safety Shield 360 is standard issue on all versions of the 2020 Rouge Sport, with buyers still being able to choose from either S, SV, and SL trims. This helps give the Rogue Sport a leg up over some of its rivals including the Fiat 500X, Ford EcoSport, and the Mazda CX-3. The interior is largely unchanged from the old model, but while locked doors foiled our attempts at a more detailed examination, we did see some higher quality plastics in select places, as well as more soft touch materials in a few visible areas.
While the improved safety technology and the tweaked interior materials are certainly welcome additions, we were a bit disappointed to hear that the powertrain was left untouched by these updates. Instead of simply shoehorning the same 188 horsepower 2.5 liter four cylinder that sees duty in the Altima into its engine bay, the 2020 Rogue Sport continues on with the old 2.0 liter, which makes a rather modest 141 horsepower and is mated to a tepid CVT. Power is sent to either the front wheels, or all four via the optional all-wheel drive system, but we can only imagine what the driving experience would be like if the fore-mentioned 2.5 liter was paired to the all-wheel drive system.
The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport will go on sale this fall. While Nissan declined to reveal pricing during the model’s unveiling, we expect the pricing ladder to not stray too far away from what is currently seen on the current generation model. That includes the $22,240 base MSRP wielded by the base 2019 Rogue Sport. With this suite of upgrades and new styling treatments, the 2020 Rogue Sport has virtually all the tools needed to reinvigorate its sales hopes, and it should be able to do more once a new engine is eventually installed.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.